EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When the NFL Draft gets underway, on Thursday, April 29, both Michigan and Michigan State will be looking to extend its current streak of having a player selected.
The Michigan football program has seen a player drafted in 82 consecutive drafts. MSU football has heard one of its players’ called in 80 straight drafts.
It won’t be long for the Wolverines to extend that streak. According to ESPN Draft Analysis, Jim Nagy, defensive lineman Kwity Paye is expected to be a top-15 pick.
“He’s very versatile,” Nagy said on a zoom with 6 Sports. “He can play standing up, you can put his hand in the dirt, you can move him all around and he gets to the quarterback, and those guys don’t typically last very long. So very disruptive player. I think Kwity has been knocked a little bit, in this pre-draft process, where everyone tries to poke holes in these players, but the bottom line is you put on Michigan tape and he’s very, very disruptive.”
Another Wolverine expected to hear his named called is Nico Collins. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver sat out the 2020 season, after scoring seven touchdowns in 2019, and showed up to the Senior Bowl in January with a new build.
“He was 15 pounds lighter here at the Senior Bowl then he was on Michigan tape. He played at 230 in 2019, and now he’s down to 215. He ran a 4.44 (40-yard dash),” Nagy said. “There’s a lot of smaller slot receivers in this draft. Nico is one of the few bigger guys that really projects some where on that day two level.”
As for Michigan State, Shakur Brown, Naquan Jones and Antjuan Simmons have the best chance to extend the program’s streak to 81 years.
“There’s way less players in this pool. For this draft, I think that less than 700 guys have signed with agents, for this year’s draft. Where the past two years its been 1,800 or 1,900,” Nagy said. “With that smaller pool, I think that helps guys like Naquan, helps guys like Simmons. I think all three could go, but I think Brown is probably the best bet.
In doing so, Brown would become the seventh defensive back, from MSU, taken in the last eight drafts (Darqueze Dennard, 2014 – Trae Waynes, 2015 – Montae Nicholson, 2017 – Khari Willis, 2019 – Justin Layne, 2019 – Josiah Scott, 2020).
“He didn’t measure as big as teams thought he was going to measure, and he didn’t run as fast as teams thought he was going to run, but he’s a good football player. So, teams that keep going back to the tape and watching the football player, they won’t let that taint their evaluation too much, but I still think he gets picked,” said Nagy.
Nagy also added, Jones has increased his chances of being drafted – “We didn’t have Naquan here at the Senior Bowl in January, he went to the Hula Bowl, but talking with guys around the league he was kind of one of the stars out there.”
“My d-line coach, Coach Ron Burton, he pushed me everyday,” Jones said after his MSU pro day, on March 24. “He was another advocate for getting me to lose weight, and I was so definite, like I said, I needed to become more discipline, and that’s why I love him to death because he was that father figure, that I needed throughout college.”